Plantar fasciitis is a serious issues faced by many athletes, and last week we went over times it’s just fine to miss, or skip, a workout. Being injured is a great reason to take a day off, and this common one can be very discouraging. We discussed the importance of taking good care of your feet two weeks ago, and this injury is a perfect example of something that can easily be avoided with proper foot care.
Let’s start with some anatomy. The plantar fascia is the ligament that connects your heel bone to your toes. It is a flat band of tissue that supports the arch of each foot, acting like a shock absorber with each step and can be strained in one or both feet. When the plantar fascia is strained or injured, it becomes swollen, weak and irritable. This will cause any of a number of symptoms, including heel pain or pain on the bottom of the foot when standing or walking.
There are lots of things that can cause plantar fasciitis, and luckily, most are preventable. People who are prone to plantar fasciitis include those who roll the foot inward when walking or running (excessive pronation), individuals with high arches, people who are overweight, stand, walk or run on hard surfaces for long periods of time, have tight calves or Achilles and finally, those who wear poorly fitting or worn out shoes. All of these causes can be prevented or avoided very easily. Two weeks ago, we wrote about the importance of taking care of your feet. If you follow those suggestions, along with the ones we’re about to share, you’ll be as well prepared as you can be for the fight against plantar fasciitis.
Make sure you have good shoes. If you wear the right shoes, any excess pronation will be prevented and both arches, no matter how high, will get support. Replacing your shoes before they are worn down to the bones or using insoles helps ensure correct fit and keeps feet protected even if you stand, walk or run on hard surfaces for long periods of time. Tight calves or Achilles tendons are an easy fix, too. Daily stretching can help lengthen and strengthen these important parts while aiding in injury prevention. Weekly foot massages, from yourself or someone else, are a relaxing way to prevent foot injuries, too. Being overweight puts extra strain on your plantar fascia as well, so making sure you have supportive, properly fitted shoes when starting a weight loss program is incredibly important.
What if you already have plantar fasciitis? While there isn’t one magical cure-all for making your foot, or feet, feel 100% better, there are things you can do to help the process along. The pain associated with this type of injury often makes putting ice on your injured heel and taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drug a necessary part of recovery. Taking a break from exercising or switching from hard surfaces to soft ones will give the injured foot, or feet, time to heal. If you’re not ready to take a breather, daily stretching, or stretching multiple times per day, will aid in flexibility. You can also consider night splints, a boot that stretches your calf and foot while you sleep to help even more. Rolling the length of your foot with a tennis or lacrosse ball can act like a massage and stretches the arch of your foot, Achilles and calf.
Now that you know the symptoms, the treatments and how to prevent plantar fasciitis, protect your feet and get going! For more help with injury prevent, email us at Info@FitNicePT.com today.